2016 was certainly a year to remember and for foodies far and wide, it certainly was a tasty one. Here is a look back at some of the wildest and most interesting food trends that went viral on the internet. Hopefully, these trends don’t die before you get a chance to taste them yourself.
Frosé is exactly what it sounds like: frozen rosé. Rosé sounds good any day, but in Summer 2016, we all cooled down with one of these deliciously boozy, frozen concoctions.
Many bars and restaurants started serving their own versions of the drink, much to the delight of summer vacationers everywhere. Recipes for different variations also became a popular Google search for people planning their summer parties.
Poke (pronounced poh-keh) may not be anything new to a lot of people, but for some reason, it became increasingly popular over the Summer of 2016. The Hawaiian dish is traditionally served with raw ahi tuna that is marinated in soy sauce and/or sesame oil, over rice and topped with a combination of toppings, ranging from avocado, sesame seeds, cucumber, and more.
Many poke shops have sprung up in different cities, sporting a “create-your-own” style similar to Chipotle or Subway. Other poke combinations include other fish such as yellowtail tuna or salmon. It has since become another summer food staple because of how refreshing it is.
Rolled Ice Cream
Rolled ice cream started out of Thailand, where it is now a popular street food. Of course, when the trend made its way to America, everyone was obsessed with it. There are plenty of videos on Instagram of rolled ice cream being made, in which you can see an ice-cream mixture being poured onto a cold griddle and, after flavors are mixed and mashed in, the mixture is repeatedly flattened and rolled up for the customer to enjoy.
One restaurant in New York City, 10Below Ice Cream, debuted the dessert and people have flocked to go out and try it, some even waiting up to three hours! Since then, many other shops have popped up in America that serve the unique treat.
This weirdly confusing dessert has food adventurers everywhere perplexed. At first only available in Japan, New Yorker Darren Wong brought the novelty dessert to America at Brooklyn’s Smorgasburg.
It is a combination of mineral water, sugar, and a vegan gelatin that forms a jiggly raindrop. Served with a dark sugar syrup and soybean flour, the dessert is meant to be enjoyed within half an hour before it melts. Many who’ve tasted the treat say that it tastes like nothing, certainly not like cake. Once it goes into your mouth, it weirdly dissolves into water. The general consensus is that it doesn’t taste very good, but is a great experience nonetheless.
Another food fad that took Instagram by storm was the introduction of Rainbow Bagels. Created by The Bagel Store in Brooklyn, New York, the psychedelic bagels have bombarded Instagram feeds with delightfully colorful breakfast pictures.
The Bagel Store owner Scot Rossillo has been making these bagels for 20 years, but they have suddenly become popular just this year. The plain bagels are actually just made with colored bagel dough that is rolled in such a way to get the swirly texture. Things get a little more exciting with The Bagel Store’s fun cream cheese flavors such as funfetti and cannoli.
Churros might seem like no big deal to anyone who’s been to a theme park or sporting event, but in 2016 churros have gotten some major makeovers. Pastry masterminds have created churro ice cream sandwiches, churro ice cream cones, and even Oreo churros.
But while the churro craze is bringing the pastry to new heights, one restaurant in Southern California is trying to revamp the classic version. The Loop has redefined the churro, creating artful loops of the cinnamon snack with delightful toppings such as fruity pebbles, matcha, and cookies and cream. Whether you’re a fan of the classic version or are wanting to try something new, you can be sure that churros have definitely not gone overlooked.
Ube (pronounced ooo-beh) is a Filipino food staple made from the taro root. While ube has been in Filipino cuisine for centuries, it has slowly been making its way into American fare. The most popular form that ube takes in the states is in donuts.
Many donut shops across the country are incorporating ube into their flavors, whether that be through a glaze or baked into the donut itself. Ube first attracts newcomers with its distinctive purple color and brightly colored foods seem to be the trend in 2016. It is sweet, but not overwhelmingly so, but many people still consider ube to be an acquired taste.
Unicorn Ice Cream
Again another food trend with lots of colors. Unicorn ice cream was apparently one of the most-pinned ice creams on Pinterest in 2016. The delicious treat can surprisingly be made at home.
All you need to do is create a mixture of heavy cream, sweetened condensed milk, and vanilla extract. You divide the mixture into separate bowls and color each batch with a different food coloring. You then layer each different color in a dish, swirl the colors together, top with sprinkles and edible glitter, and put it in the freezer. Some of the simplest ice cream recipes have the most majestic results.
Desserts have already taken a magical turn, but there are none that are quite out of this world like galaxy desserts. Galaxy cakes, macarons, you name it. People have begun to craft desserts that mimic the galaxy. These don’t particularly taste like the galaxy – if the galaxy had a taste – but the trend has shown how food and desserts have taken on a whole new art form.
This Nebula Cake from Sprinkle Bakes is pretty much just a black velvet cake with confetti sprinkles baked into the cake to mimic the starry galaxy. The baker used food coloring and paint tools to create a colorful galaxy on top of the black fondant that covers the cake.
In 2016, Turmeric was the new “it” superfood that had health nuts raving. The powdered version has always been easily accessible in spice cabinets for ages, but people have begun to use the actual root for its antioxidant-rich health benefits. Its anti-inflammatory properties have helped people with ailments such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
Turmeric has been popularly consumed this year in the form of “Golden Milk,” which is pretty much a fancy name for a turmeric latte, which actually isn’t a latte. Golden Milk consists of cold-pressed turmeric juice blended with almond, cashew, or coconut milk and has been popping up in shops all over the world.
Starbucks Rainbow Drinks
Starbucks started Summer 2016 with their introduction of the Strawberry Acai Refreshers, but leave it up to die-hard Starbucks fans to find some way to make it their own and complicate the non-existent Starbucks secret menu. It started with the Pink Drink, which is when you order a Strawberry Acai Refresher and ask the barista to use coconut milk instead of water.
Since the pretty pink beverage started popping up on social media, people clamored to get their hands on one, but they had to know how to order it since the barista would just give you a Pink Drink. After the rise of the Pink Drink, people have come up with hacks for all of Starbucks’s other tea and juice beverages to make drinks for all colors of the rainbow.
Popular among Australian children for ages, the rise of fairy bread has caught the internet by storm. Adding to the list of colored foods that seem to be popular just for their looks and whimsy, fairy bread has been copied by many non-Australians in the year 2016.
It simply consists of buttered slices of plain white bread topped with some form of sprinkles. Originally a staple at children’s parties, people have now been indulging in this treat as a breakfast, dessert, or even just a snack. Because of its delicious simplicity, many have tried to recreate it for themselves and it has even been dubbed “a hipster food,” much to the chagrin of Australians who think Americans are complicating something that was truly just meant for children.
The sparkling water beverage has soared to new heights in 2016 as the go-to drink, primarily among women in their twenties, who call their affinity for La Croix an obsession. La Croix (which is supposed to be announced “La Croy”) comes in a variety of flavors such as grapefruit, lime, cran-raspberry, and just plain berry.
Even though it is slightly flavored, it has no calories and no sugar, so it has become a healthy alternative to people who have been defaulting to sodas for all these years. In 2016, La Croix has been offered at restaurants, is now regularly seen in grocery stores, and is a staple in office refrigerators.
The puffle cone has also become popular via social media, with its egg-shaped bubble-like texture wrapped around delicious scoops of ice cream. It originated in Hong Kong in the 1950s but has gained popularity in 2016 thanks to Cauldron Ice Cream in Southern California.
Since the puffle cone’s rise, many other ice cream shops around the world have been doling out these treats, which make for the perfect Instagram photo on a summer’s day. Also called the bubble waffle, or even wowfull, these treats seem like they’re here to stay and gone are the days of traditional, flat ice cream cones.
2016 food fads seem to be centered around picture-worthy over-indulging desserts, because another trend that is populating Instagram feeds is milkshakes. But not your plain, ordinary milkshake with whipped cream and a cherry, these new milkshakes are the dessert drink of your dreams.
New York restaurant Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer has helped popularize these massive milkshakes, some topped with cotton candy, regular sized cookies, and a bunch of candies. Another rendition of this is the “Freakshake,” made by an Australian-based café called Pâtissez, where they top their milkshakes with slices of cake, brownies, and donuts.
Balloons are often forgotten about once they fly away or they lose all their air. But now, you can enjoy a whole balloon for what it is at the Alinea Restaurant in Chicago. Chef Grant Achatz has created the edible balloon, meaning the balloon itself and it’s candy string are completely edible.
Achatz makes a sugar concoction that he fills with helium like a balloon and then attached a dehydrated apple string. People who enjoy the dessert first suck out the helium and then are able to enjoy the sugary remains after they have fun talking in their altered voices.
Sweet Potato Toast
Move over avocado toast, a new toasty trend has taken over. A more nutritious, gluten-free option to toast, people have started taking washed sweet potatoes, slicing them, and toasting them in the toaster just like they would with actual bread. From there, the possibilities are endless.
People have thought of many different topping flavor combinations since the trend picked up in Summer of 2016. Peanut butter and banana, berries and goat cheese, honey and chia seeds have all graced this new alternative to bread. People have even spun classic avocado toast by putting avocados on toasted sweet potato instead!
Mac N’ Cheetos
Whether you think this sounds absolutely repulsive or actually really tasty, Mac N’ Cheetos is a real thing thanks to the people at Burger King. First introduced in June of 2016, Mac N’ Cheetos has shocked Americans all over the country.
They look like Cheetos puffs, but when you break them open, you find deep-fried macaroni and cheese. These cheese coated delights proved themselves to be quite popular among the masses and were so successful, that Burger King released another Cheeto’s flavored item – Cheetos Chicken Fries, which is their chicken fries coated in cheesy, Cheeto goodness – the following September.
Back in the world of health foods, broccoli’s albino cousin cauliflower has proven itself to be one of the most versatile and delicious food substitutions. The superfood is a cruciferous vegetable that has sulfur-rich compounds linked to the prevention of certain cancers.
People have been substituting cauliflower for everything. From cauliflower rice to cauliflower pizza, there is really no wrong way to go with the consumption of cauliflower. There are many articles that show you different ways you can bake, mash, or fry cauliflower into something like cauliflower breadsticks, or even cauliflower popcorn! Needless to say, the health world is always looking for ways to replace carbs with better alternatives.
The Waffle Iron
Okay, admittedly this trend has been around for a year or so, but by 2016 it has become the norm. People have been using their waffle irons to cook just about anything. The convenience of it makes sense, since having two hot plates around whatever you’re cooking makes food consumption that much easier, and having your food in waffle form makes it more fun.
The most popular items that are “waffled” are cinnamon rolls, grilled cheese, quesadillas, and even frittatas! Considering how long this trend has been around and how the hype for it has not died down in 2016, it looks like people will continue to waffle their foods for more years to come.